Newsletter > Newsletter archive > January 2020

January 2020

Add some botany to your walks

Over the coming months we thought we would highlight some apps that help add something to your outdoor adventures, beyond simply finding your way. If you have found any useful resources yourself please let us know and we can share them through the newsletter.

If, like us, you are fond of flowers, grasses and other vegetation but sometimes struggle to identify them, you might like to install the iNaturalist app. The old method of taking photos and then searching through books back home can be quite fun but this app gives you a superbly lazy route to identification, which can even be instant if you have a good mobile data signal.

iNaturalist is a citizen science project involving a social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists, the aim of which is to map and share observations of biodiversity across the globe. The project is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.

Within the app you simply take the clearest photo you can of your plant. Then you can get the app to compare your picture with its extensive library and offer you likely options based on your location and time of year as well as visual clues in the picture. From these you can pick your identification and save your observation for the future. Better still your choice is likely to be validated - or an alternative suggested - within a few hours by an accredited and expert member of the community.

What's more, by recording and sharing your observations, you are helping to create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. The iNaturalist app can be found by searching the Android and Apple app stores or online at It's free to install and use.

HF Holidays walking breaks for 2020

HF Holidays has been helping guests savour the great outdoors since 1913 on holidays which have an emphasis on sharing the experience with like-minded people.  You can enjoy some great walking holidays in eighteen picturesque locations around the UK, staying in award-winning 3 and 4-star country houses. Breaks are full board, with all meals from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure day.

On Guided Walking holidays there's a choice of different graded walks each walking day, accompanied by an experienced leader whose local knowledge will add insight to many aspects of your stay. On Outdoor Escapes you can choose from up to three ways of exploring each day with plenty of downtime. With Gentle Walking holidays there's a daily choice of up to three walks, including very gentle strolls of 3-4 miles with some sightseeing.

Where to go? The rolling hills around Church Stretton offer a delightful backdrop to the charm of storied towns such as Much Wenlock (birthplace of the Modern Olympic Games), hill forts, fortresses and castles, medieval towns and scenic steam railways. In Malhamdale in Yorkshire you can experience the huge rock amphitheatre of Malham Cove - once a waterfall to rival Niagara Falls - and the scenic cascades of Gordale Scar, while Dovedale in the Peak District promises magnificent views of heather moorland and rocky escarpments, contrasted with the pastoral patchwork and traditional villages of the limestone dales.

In the Lake District, you'll be surrounded by picture-postcard valleys and lofty mountains, the sheer splendour of the landscape guaranteed to inspire you. Or you can stride out along the rolling hills and magnificent chalk cliffs of the South Downs. Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland, with an 85 mile coastline boasting unspoilt sandy beaches and dramatic white cliffs. Glen Coe is the ideal spot to discover the magical mountains and tranquil lochs of the Highlands.

Find out more about the choice of walks, dates and locations at or call 020 3974 8868.

Guided Walking Holiday offers:
Church Stretton, Shropshire Hills, 13th March, 3 nights from £284pp*
Abingworth, South Downs, 10th April, 7 nights from £714pp*
Keswick, Northern Lake District, 13th April, 4 nights from £444pp*
Malham, Southern Yorkshire Dales, 4th May, 4 nights from £489pp*
Dovedale, Peak District, 22nd May, 7 nights from £790pp*
Gentle Walking Holiday offers:
Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight, 17th April, 3 nights from £320pp*
Outdoor Escapes Holiday offers:
Glen Coe, Scottish Highlands, 3rd April, 6 nights from £665pp*
*Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability, see website. Non-member fee £10pp applies. Offers end 14 Feb 2020.

NEW - Guided vegan walking holidays in Andalucia
If you enjoy walking holidays and you're a vegan - or want to try vegan cooking for a week - then this vegan walking holiday in the Alpujarra in southern Spain could be the perfect choice.

The Alpujurra is known for its unspoilt footpaths in breath-taking mountain scenery. A week's walking will take you through meadows and oak woods, medieval villages and spectacular gorges, as well as the high trails of the Sierra Nevada range.
The walks for this week have been selected by the team at Casa Ana, who specialise in walking holidays in the area.  The lead guide will be Matt Dowse, an enthusiastic walker, experienced naturalist, and a vegan himself, who before making the Alpujarra his home, was a Ranger with the South Downs National Park.

The cooks at Casa Ana will be creating vegan meals to tempt the eyes and taste buds.  A typical dinner might include spicy spinach, chickpea and carrot soup, a feast of roasted pumpkin and potatoes sprinkled with Moroccan spices with a garnish of prunes and caramelised onions, chicory, rocket and orange salad, locally grown cherry tomatoes with fresh basil and a balsamic garlic dressing and chocolate and almond torte.

During the week there will be a day off from walking, when you can go foraging for herbs with a expert botanist and even try your hand at vegan chocolate-making with a local chocolatier.

Special offer to Walkingworld members: 100 euros off advertised prices below.

Vegan Walking Holidays in Andalucia
9 - 15 May and 17 - 23 October 2020 (6 nights)
1,095 euros per person in a double or twin. 1,295 euros single supplement. All bedrooms are en suite.
Price includes: 6 nights' bed and breakfast; picnics, dinners, workshop fee, local transport and guides.
It does not include flights, airport transfers, some refreshments.
Contact: Anne at

Dark skies festival in Cumbria
The first Dark Skies Festival organised by the Friends of the Lake District will take place from 21-23 February. The festival is a great opportunity for people of all ages to get involved with stargazing. Sixteen events are running across the Lake District and wider Cumbria, including a two-day pop up Dark Sky Planetarium and Meteorite Workshop. This looks like a great event for all the family, with a photography exhibition and outdoor art installation, twilight sensory walks, night time mountain biking sessions and more.

Brecon Beacons challenge event
The Brecon Beacons WAAT4 Challenge takes place on 20th June and is a Team Challenge (with teams of 2 to 6 competitors) to run, stroll or walk through the beautiful Brecon Beacons. There are three routes available over 20kms, 30kms and 40kms. For the individual entry fee of £35.00 team members receive a packed lunch for the day plus all the water you need at every check point.  When you return to base camp you will receive a medal and t-shirt followed in the evening with curry and music.  Each competitor is asked to raise a minimum of £50.00 sponsorship.

Member news

John Webb's rapidly growing group embark2 offers not for profit holidays for widows and widowers. Their next foreign walking holiday is to Cyprus (7 nights from the 6th May 2020 staying at the Poseidonia Beach Hotel in Limassol on a HB basis. £860 plus flights). Walks will be around the Troodos mountains and Pachna. There's a visit to a winery for lunch and plenty of time for exploring central Cyprus.